Or – “The Return Of The Greatest X-Man Of Them All!”Â
It has been many years since the original five X-Men teamed up to battle various fat, bald, ugly pro-wrestler types.Â In the ensuing years, seemingly hundreds of mutants have joined various incarnations of the X-Franchise, but everybody seems to forget the FIRST mutant recruit to join the then-handful of X-Kids…Â The man called The Mimic.Â In a world gone mad, where no one’s loyalties can be easily discerned, this legendary lost hero has returned, to once again spearhead the team he once led.
(Oh, there’s some other guys in this book, too…)
Previously, on Uncanny X-Men:Â Many years ago, Charles Xavier set out to create a better world, a world where mutants like himself and normal humans could live in peace and harmony.Â And to create that better world, he chose to dress teenagers in spandex and make them fight.Â (Stranger ideas about a better world have been forwarded…Â Anybody remember the Kellogg brothers?)Â In any case, this simple idea worked (sort of) and led to more kids in spandex, until it seemed like you couldn’t swing a cat without hitting someone wearing yellow spandex and an “X” belt.Â But, as with any leader, Xavier eventually found his followers outgrowing him, and the Xavier school became a huge sprawling Xavier Academy and relocated to the west coast.Â His first student, Scott Summers, has now replaced him as headmaster, and along with his ice queen girlfriend, has made the X-Men into something that Charles might not even recognize.Â Recent events have led to the near-eradication of all mutants, and Scott has discovered that his girlfriend has been working with Norman Osborn and his Illumi-Naughty, causing them to break up, sort of.Â Emma has been given her role in the new world order (lead a new team of X-Men ala the Dark Avengers) while Scott fights a guerilla war against the establishment, aided by additional teenagers in spandex.Â Meanwhile. Henry P. McCoy, aka the Beast, has been captured by Osborn and has discovered a familiar voice in Norman’s holding cells…
In the wake of events spinning out of last week’s Utopia kickoff issue, the city of San Francisco is in flames, as mutants and humans alike riot in the streets.Â The Iron Patriot and Professor X fill the various channels with entreaties of peace, while Cyclops and his X-Men fight off the assault of the Dark Avengers.Â Most disturbing though, is the situation of The Beast, incarcerated at Alcatraz, trapped and involved in a telepathic conversationÂ with a fellow prisoner… Professor X?Â It seems that Norman has captured the former leader of the X-Men for some nefarious purpose, and while Charles tries to communicate, Hank finds himself unsure that he’s not being played the head of HAMMER.Â Of course, the presence of his own evil twin (The Dark Beast, from the Age of Apocalypse) doesn’t help anyone’s credibility either, especially when Dark Beast strapsÂ Regular BeastÂ into something called the Omega Machine.Â At the same time, onboard the orbiting helicarrier, Norman Osborn andÂ another Professor XÂ meet with Emma Frost, introducing her to her new squad… The All-New All-Different X-Men!
We’ve had much discussion here at Major SpoilersÂ over who they are, but most of the guesses from the faithful spoilerites were dead on.Â Her agents include: Cloak, darkforce manipulator.Â Dagger, energy manipulator.Â Wolverine Jr, offspring of the original clawed cash machine.Â Weapon Omega, late of Omega Flight, super-mutant with the powers of a ton of other mutants.Â The Mimic, likewise.Â Emma is onboard with these choices (especially their general power levels, somewhere between “Holy $#!+” and “Please stop annihilating me now”) but wants to know why thisÂ “Professor X” doesn’t read as an Omega-level telepath.Â Cue the shapeshift, as Mystique rears her red and blue skull-embossed head.Â The White Queen agrees to Normie’s terms, but insists that she be allowed to run the team her way.Â To that end, she has made oneÂ tiny littleÂ adjustment to the team’s roster:Â The original mutant, Namor the Sub-Mariner.Â Norman is impressed with her initiative (youÂ should excuse the expression) and the White Queen immediately goes onÂ nationwide television to announce thatÂ San FranciscoÂ is under curfew, and anyone out and about at night will be breaking the law.Â At his hidden base, Cyclops finds himself impressed by his girl’s ingenuity, but is horrified to watch a group of renegade mutants led by Hellion makes a public stand and takes a public beatdown.Â “Okay, Emma,” says a resolute Cyclops.Â “I think it’s time I had a talk with Norman Osborn.”
What this issue does well is position both Cyclops and the White Queen as power-players, with Emma playing a long game and Cyclops uncharacteristically getting his hands dirty with some field work.Â A virtual army of mutants appears, in various permutations that we are not expecting (including the presence of Sunspot, who I thought was now with the New Mutants) and overall, there’s a lot of familiar faces and “Hey, it’s that guy” going on.Â The plot doesn’t really advance the “Mutant vs. Human” conundrum, but it does give us some new takes on it, as well as some big picture thinking that doesn’t usually show it’s face in comic book punchemups.Â The Dark X-Men lineup is an interesting one but I don’t think that it’s nearly the focus that the advertising for this arc made it seem.Â Either way, though, it’s an intriguing start to what Marvel swears will be a change in the status quo, and Matt Fraction’s script is sharp as a tack.Â Terry Dodson’s art is excellent here, seemingly added grit and texture to his usual smooth line, as befits a story about rioting in the street…Â Uncanny X-Men #513 earns a well-deserved 4 out of 5 stars, launching Marvel’s latest crossover event in a way that does everything those issues are supposed to do:Â it makes me want to know how it all ends.